I had a lot of fun playing the macabre and ridiculously addictive Party Hard from Pinokl Games, the 2015 stealth strategy game where you could sneak up on noisy party animals and take ‘em out in a variety of ways; feed them to sharks, push them off buildings or set up traps. It involved lots of stabbing, sneaking around and killing on the dancefloor. I ripped through the first game and when I heard that the sequel, Party Hard 2, was out on Steam…I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it!
Having said that, I’m aware that this game might not be for everyone. Failing and restarting levels is a massive part of strategy development as you progress and get to know each level better. This can prove frustrating if you’re used to frequent auto-saves, as anything from 5 to 30 minutes can be lost due to a single mis-placed stab.
Smells Like Violence
In Party Hard, you played as a tired guy who just wants to get some sleep, gets fed up of his inconsiderate noisy neighbours, and decides to go on a murderous rampage. Party Hard 2 is set 10 years after the events of the first game, with a different protagonist who is really mad about the state of things at work and in his town, and goes on a killing spree to take down a drug syndicate. There are 12 parties to crash as well as two boss levels.
The first thing I noticed was the return of the pixelated characters, but within new 3D environments. It took a while to get used to but overall, definitely feels like an upgrade. There’s a good variety of environments across the different levels, which include a laboratory, a hospital and a cabin on a snowy mountain. Some of the maps were easily twice the size of the ones in the earlier game, which made the shortcuts through manholes significantly more useful.
A couple of fun new mechanics were also introduced this time round. You get party vision to easily detect useful items and objects – or targets – while a new insta-kill ability lets you take out multiple targets within a radius and has a cool-down period reflected by the protagonist’s face in the corner of your screen.
You can also craft items such as a molotov with objects you find hidden about the maps. It’s not often likely that you’ll blitz through a level easily; some took me only a few minutes, with one taking me nearly half an hour to complete after several tries.
Partner In Crime
I found some of the levels in Party Hard 2 much harder than the ones in Party Hard and sometimes roped in my husband to check out the co-op mode for some spouse-time slaughtering. To even the odds with two players, the game balances it by doubling the number of strikes to kill a target – along with a new saving-grace mechanic whereby the remaining player can revive their partner by killing multiple victims in a short duration.
Like its predecessor, Party Hard 2 has a killer 80s synth-inspired soundtrack, possibly more so this time and I still can’t decide which song is my favorite. Give it a listen if you enjoyed the Hotline Miami tunes. These are all original songs by audio producer Ressa Shcwartzwald, and they’re highly infectious.
If we ever get a Party Hard 3, my guess is that the new protagonist might just be a melon bubble-gum fan who wears denim shorts, fishnets and an eyepatch. Party Hard 2 came out for the PC on 25 October 2018 from publisher tinyBuild. If you haven’t played Party Hard or want to check out the Party Hard 2 demo, head over to the game’s website to download a copy or get it on Humble Bundle and help to support our website.
I’d highly recommend you get both games, as there isn’t anything quite like them in their quirky genre of pixelated slaughter-fest.